Sudan: Stop the stoning of Intisar Sharif Abdalla

Printer-friendly versionSend to friend
IMPORTANT: This archived action campaign has been completed or discontinued, and the information contained in it may not be current. Please see Take Action for current and ongoing campaigns.
Date: 
6 Jun 2012
Update Date: 
3 Jul 2012
Update: 

UPDATE 3 July 2012: On 22 June, an appellate court vacated Intisar Sharif Abdalla’s sentence and ordered a new trial based on defects in the original trial. On 3 July, the trial court found no evidence to proceed with the trial and dismissed the charges. Intisar has been freed from prison. Thank you for taking action.

view pdf

On 13 May 2012, Intisar Sharif Abdalla, a mother of three, was sentenced to death by stoning for adultery under Article 146 of the Sudanese penal code by the Ombada General Criminal Court in Khartoum State, Sudan. Intisar, who initially denied the charges, “admitted” to adultery after being beaten and tortured by her brother. She was sentenced to death by stoning solely based on her coerced admission and was denied access to a lawyer at the hearing. In addition, she was not provided with an interpreter to translate the court proceeding conducted in Arabic, which is not her native language. Her co-accused denied the charges and was never prosecuted.

Currently, Intisar, along with her four month old son, is being held in the Omdurman women’s prison. She has appealed the decision of the Ombada General Criminal Court. 

>> TAKE ACTION NOW!

The prescribed punishment of death by stoning violates Sudan’s international legal obligations under a number of human rights instruments ratified by Sudan. These include the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), which clearly prohibit all forms of torture, cruel, inhuman or degrading punishment and treatment. Additionally, the death penalty for the crime of adultery does not fall within the internationally accepted concept of ‘most serious offences’ warranting a death penalty as reiterated by the United Nations Commission on Human Rights (currently the United Nations Human Rights Council) and the Human Rights Committee. Equality Now opposes the death penalty and the criminalization of private acts engaged in by consenting adults.

Moreover, Intisar’s trial does not meet the standards for a fair trial under Sudanese or international law. Article 34 (6) of the Sudanese Constitution provides anyone accused of a serious offence the right to defend  through a lawyer or to have legal aid assigned to her by the State, and Intisar was not granted this right. Additionally, confessions extracted under duress should not be admitted in court and cannot form the basis of a death sentence. Under international law, an execution following a trial that does not meet international fair trial standards is a violation of the right to life.

What You Can Do: 

Please write to Sudanese officials to call for:

  • the immediate and unconditional release of Intisar Sharif Abdalla;
  • the establishment of a moratorium on death by stoning;
  • the commutation of all sentences of death by stoning;
  • the prohibition by law of all cruel, inhuman and degrading punishments, such as torture, flogging and stoning in accordance with Sudan’s obligations under the African Charter and the ICCPR;
  • a comprehensive review of the provisions of the Criminal Act of Sudan, 1991, in particular Article 146, and the removal of all provisions that discriminate against, or have a discriminatory impact on, women, including those regarding adultery and fornication, in accordance with Sudan’s own constitutional provision on the right to equality and non-discrimination based on sex. 

>> TAKE ACTION NOW!

Please send your letters to:

President Omar Hassan Ahmad al-Bashir
Office of the President
People’s Palace
PO Box 281
Khartoum, Sudan
Email: info@sudan.gov.sd

Mohammed Bushara Dousa
Minister of Justice
Ministry of Justice
Justice Towers
Gamhoria Street
PO Box 302
Khartoum, Sudan

Dr. Moaz Tango
Advisory Committee on Human Rights
Ministry of Justice
Justice Towers
Gamhoria Street
PO Box 302
Khartoum, Sudan

Jalal al-Din Mohammed Osman
Chief Justice
Ministry of Justice
Justice Towers
Gamhoria Street
P.O Box 302
Khartoum, Sudan

Letters: 

Dear ______:

I write to you with grave concern over the 13 May 2012 sentencing of Intisar Sharif Abdalla, a mother of three, to death by stoning for adultery under Article 146 of the Sudanese Penal Code.

The prescribed punishment of death by stoning violates Sudan’s International legal obligations under the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights (African Charter) and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) that clearly prohibit all forms of torture, cruel, inhuman and degrading punishment and treatment. In addition, the death penalty for the crime of adultery does not fall within internationally accepted concept of ‘most serious offences’ warranting a death penalty as reiterated by the United Nations Commission on Human Rights (currently the Human Rights Council) and Human Rights Committee.

Moreover, it appears that Intisar’s trial did not meet the standards of fair trial under Sudanese or international law. It is particularly concerning that her sentence was imposed based on a coerced admission after she was tortured by her brother. Confessions extracted under torture and duress should not be admissible in Court and cannot form the basis of a death sentence. Moreover, I believe that Intisar was denied the right to legal representation despite the guarantee under Article 34 (6) of the Interim National Constitution that “Any accused person has the right to defend himself/herself in person or through a lawyer of his/her own choice and to have legal aid assigned to him/her by the State where he/she is unable to defend himself/herself in serious offences.” In addition, Intisar was apparently not able to understand the proceedings against her that were conducted in Arabic, not her native language. The execution of persons after a trial that does not meet international fair trial standards amounts to a violation of the right to life.

I respectfully urge you to immediately and unconditionally release Intisar Sharif Abdalla, declare a moratorium on death by stoning, commute all sentences of death by stoning and prohibit all cruel, inhuman and degrading punishment, such as torture, flogging and stoning, in accordance with Sudan’s obligations under the African Charter and the ICCPR.

I further urge you to conduct a comprehensive review of the provisions of the Criminal Act of Sudan, 1991, and in particular Article 146 with a view to removing all provisions that discriminate against, or have a discriminatory impact on, women including those regarding adultery and fornication, in accordance with Sudan’s Constitutional provisions on the right to equality and non-discrimination based on sex.

Respectfully yours,